The Fourth Annual New York Baltic Film Festival (NYBFF) presented by Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America returns in 2021 as a hybrid festival with both in-person and virtual screenings on November 3-14! From November 3 through 7, in-person screenings and events will take place at Scandinavia House in New York, presented in accordance with new COVID-19 safety guidance and protocols. Following the success of last year’s festival, the online version will once again be available to viewers all across the U.S. via the Elevent streaming platform November 5-14.
On November 6, see Tree Opera (Koku Opera, dir. Mārtiņš Grauds, Latvia, 2020, Documentary). A primeval Finnish forest may not seem an obvious site for an opera. But if nature is part of your performance and the singers are trees personified — as in the unique open-air drama Tree Opera, which premiered in 2019 in the Kainuu region of Finland — the decision is actually quite organic! Mārtiņš Grauds’ documentary follows a group of contemporary and boundary-pushing Latvian architects, artists and costume designers who traveled to Finland and trekked deep into the forest to help composer Anna Ķirse’s biodegradable vision come to life.
As their thought and care instaging the opera culminates in a beautiful performance, the work highlights the importance of protecting these ancient forests. After the final note is sung, and after the last spectator leaves, the decomposing architecture and scenography become a part of the Mustarinda nature trail.
Tickets to this event must be purchased in advance online at the link above; film screenings will take place in Victor Borge Hall. All attendees are required to present proof of vaccination upon arrival in compliance with New York State government; read more here. Attendees are required to follow all Scandinavia House safety protocols, including wearing masks during the program and observing social distancing rules in signage. Please read our full safety protocols here.
Virtual screenings of this film will take place from November 7-14. To read more and purchase virtual passes, please click here.
About the Director
Mārtiņš Grauds (b. 1973, Riga) is a Latvian filmmaker and photographer known for his poetic visual language and witty, inventive approach to his subjects. He has directed five documentaries and two short films. His latest documentaries (TREE OPERA, 2020; FORGING CONDORS, 2018) explore the relationship between nature and culture.
A well-known and resourceful director of commercials, Grauds has directed more than 800 spots in his 20+ year career in the industry, as well as a number of music videos that have earned him four Latvian Music Recordings Annual Awards for Best Music Video. In 2020, he collaborated with the New Riga Theatre group and director Alvis Hermanis on 10-part series AGENCY as the director of photography and editor.
About the NYBFF
Established in 2018, the New York Baltic Film Festival is presented and organized by Scandinavia House in collaboration with the Consulate General of Estonia, Consulate General of Lithuania, and Permanent Mission of Latvia to the United Nations in New York.
Financial support for the festival comes from the Estonian Film Institute, National Film Center of Latvia, and Lithuanian Film Center, with additional sponsorship by the Lithuanian Culture Institute, American Latvian Association, LV-100, Printful, PBLA Culture Fund and the Lithuanian Foundation and the Embassy of Latvia in Washington DC.
ORGANIZERS & SPONSORS